Richard Roesler of the Spokesman Review reported today in his story Education plan faces uncertain fate, that the League of Education Voters has proposed a one-penny sales tax hike which would raise $1 billion a year for schools.

As the Spokesman Review reported today:

Washington State University Regent Bill Marler said he was surprised that recent polls showed as much support as they did. Voters are particularly supportive, he said, when told that the League proposal sets up a firewall around the money, so it can’t be drained off for other state budget needs.

“Anytime you ask people to raise their taxes it’s going to be hard,” he said. “But voters have got to look at this and realize the time has come.”

A baby-boom echo of more than 30,000 new college students is on its way in coming years, he said, and the state has to make room for them. Already, he said, WSU is turning away some students with 3.5 grade-point averages.

Some republicans are calling the proposition unrealistic, irresponsible and reckless. Critics are also pointing to the regressive nature of the sales tax, which tends to cost the poor a higher percentage of their income than the rich.

Marler agreed that the sales tax is regressive, but said the money would help pay for scholarships, other financial aid, and education to help lift kids from poverty.

Plus, he said, the simple one-penny proposal had the most voter support of several alternatives.

“We polled an income tax, we polled all kinds of taxes,” he said. “This seemed fairer to voters.”